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Letter to the Editor: A Cry for Help in Turks and Caicos

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#TurksandCaicosIslands – June 15, 2020 — I am writing this article with a heavy heart and with tears streaming down my face. I am an active member of the TCI Bariatric Group that was formed on WhatsApp approximately one year and one month ago by a number of TC Islanders. This group was initially formed by three ladies and to date we have twenty seven members comprising of both male and female.

For those of you who do not understand the term Bariatric, it is simply means the medical treatment of obesity which is being seriously overweight and a number of us have been deemed medically morbidly obese.

We as a group decided to put pen to paper and to bring our issues to the public to see if there are any persons with ample resource who will be able to assist us in any way possible. Some of us have been in constant battles with the government for way over three and a half years, yet to no avail. We are being turned around and toyed with as if we are not humans. We were told that if we got referrals from the doctors, that our issues would be place before the cabinet and that it should not be a problem for us to be given the bariatric procedure which is so badly needed to save all of our lives, so we all went and got numerous of referrals, some exceeding as much as five. We followed the necessary procedures, only to be told that are referrals were refused because the NHIP Policy does not cover this procedure and that it is deemed a cosmetic procedure. This here was a kick in our gut because collectively, we knew of persons who received breast augmentations, tummy tucks and I believe even Botox; all of these were cosmetic.

However, the breast augmentations and tummy tuck surgeries were to alleviate pain on the breast thus rendering them medically necessary. Well we have members in out group with a variety of life threatening ailments and who are immobile, such ailments are lymphedema, osteoarthritis in both knees and their hips, asthma, edema, sleep apnea, angina, blood pressure and the list goes on and on, so if these conditions does not warrant immediate action and deemed to be medically necessary then what is?

We need this surgery to live and I am afraid that if some of us don’t get it soon there could be possible fatalities.

We in this group are all TC Islanders paying our contributions to the NHIP Scheme from its inception and now when we need them the most they have turned their backs on us. They refuse to help us.

We have written to the Minister, the Premier and even to the Governor with our cried and have been disappointed, we haven’t received not one reply from either person. Had we been in any other country we would have been approved for and already given this surgery, and the bad part about it is that the surgery only cost roughly $10,500 in the states and Cayman. Are we not worth $10,500?

Many of you are probably saying it’s only $10,500 why don’t we pay for it ourselves? Well this is because we cannot afford it or we would not have been waiting on government to save our lives and to help us to live longer.

We have spoken to Dr. Maitland and Dr. Bewaji numerous times and have already appeal our decisions, only to be let down with refusals. We need help, we need this government to live up to the promise made to us. We were told that monies have already been budgeted for these procedures from last year budget and as of today nothing. Some of us have been told over two years bow that they are amending the policy to include this procedure under the NHIP Scheme, and to date, nothing yet. Some of us have been given month to month promises for the last three years that hopefully we would be out of here in a few weeks time to a month to undergo surgery, and to date, nothing yet.

Are we not humans? Do we not have a right to live? And what is so hurtful is that this procedure has been done in the past under the PNP Administration, where they sent off a number of TC Islanders to the States for this procedure. So this is nothing new and I really cannot fathom why we are being treated as less than humans? Why all the red tape? Why all the refusals? Why all the hiccups?

We are literally sick and tired of being sick and tired. This run around is not only tiresome and disappointing but it makes us feel as if we are being taken for a granted and as if we are insignificant.

Persons on the outside would look and say, oh go and exercise you all to lazy, or stop eating, you all too greedy and frankly that is not the case. Many of us cannot exercise because of our knees, our backs or something else, and really food is not an issue. It is simply a metabolism issue, a genetic issue or some other kind of medical issue.

I have seen bigger countries facing more serious issues than the TCI, that have amended and approve policies quicker than this, and especially one of this nature. This is because they take health seriously which NHIP obviously doesn’t.

God knows we have been patient and remain to be but this is ridiculous, enough is finally enough and we refuse to sit any longer whilst our lives are being toyed with. Every country we have contacted is offering this surgery free of cost to locals once persons meet the medical requirements, what is wrong with our Country?

You have persons in the TCI Bariatric chat if you were to hear their stories you would cry and probably opt to pay for their surgeries out of pocket. That is how much pain we go through on a daily basis. We pray that this article puts some heat under NHIP so that this process is finalized and we and persons similar to us can get the help that we so badly need.

It is highly logical that having this surgery now will in the future prevent the government for spending more on costly surgeries, such as back surgery, knee and hip replacement surgeries. We really do not understand why they cannot comprehend this? Any government in their rightfully thinking mind would consider this factor and weigh all the pros and cons, and once that is done, there is no way possible that this surgery should be refused.

I write this letter with tears coming down my face because of the pain we are in on a daily basis and have to conceal from the world just so that they will keep the negativity to themselves.

May the good Lord help us and continue to bless these beautiful by nature Turks and Caicos Islands.

Statement from the TCI Bariatric Group

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Caribbean News

Educational Aids Strengthen Learning Experience for Provo Students

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PROVIDENCIALES, Turks & Caicos Islands: Scores of students in Providenciales will benefit from back-to-school supplies donated by Sandals Foundation Ambassadors at Beaches Turks and Caicos resort, strengthening the instructional process in four schools at the start of the new school term.

More than 2,000 students from Ianthe Pratt, Enid Capron, Oseta Jolly and the Thelma Lightbourne Primary Schools were presented with a generous supply of educational materials including notebooks, pens, pencils, rulers, sharpeners, knapsacks, reading material, sports gear and musical instruments from members of the philanthropic arm of the family all-inclusive resort. While sharing the gratitude for the gifts received, the leaders at the various institutions lauded the efforts of the more than 20 volunteers on hand.

Neekimo King, Principal of the Ianthe Pratt Primary School shared, “Beaches Turks and Caicos and the Sandals Foundation over the years have adopted our institution as their own. These reading books will go a far way in increasing our library stock and improving literacy among the students while the physical education and the guidance counseling units have received lots of materials to bolster the learning experience for our students.”

Sophia Garland, Principal of the Enid Capron Primary School was equally elated as she expressed how beneficial resources will be for the teaching and learning process.

“These supplies, including the books, will definitely aid in increasing literacy amongst the students and the many teaching aids that we have been received will create an environment that is conducive for teaching and learning.”

In sharing with the schools, James McAnally, General Manager at Beaches resort noted, “Sandals Foundation and the resort remain committed to the development of the education of our children, the environment and the communities in which we operate. These four government operated primary schools were identified for these supplies to help in fostering their academic and extra-curricular growth.”

McAnally continued, “A big thank you to the Sandals Foundation Ambassadors who came out and helped with making these distributions possible.”

Vice principal of the Oseta Jolly Primary School, Diana Dean, also expressed gratitude noting, “With these tools, I am sure the students will be excited about learning and the teachers will be better equipped to deliver the lessons.”

The Sandals Foundation and Beaches Turks and Caicos Resort have long been supporters of education and community development in Turks and Caicos, donating to a number of schools and youth sports programmes. Since 2011, the organisations have been assisting students at Ianthe Pratt, Enid Capron Primary Schools and other schools across the islands in their holistic development by providing educational supplies and the opportunity for Sandals and Beaches resorts guests to meaningfully engage with the students through a weekly literacy enhancement programme, hosted in partnership with Island Routes Tours – Reading Road Trip.

 

Captions: 

Header: Staff and students from the Enid Capron Primary School share a moment for the cameras with members of the Sandals Foundation team as the school received educational items from the Beaches Turks and Caicos and the Sandals Foundation.

Insert: James McAnally, General Manager, Beaches Turks and Caicos (front left) makes a presentation to members of the Ianthe Pratt Primary School recently with sporting gear and educational items looking on are members of the Sandals Foundation team, Sesame Street Character

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Crime

PRESS STATEMENT: MINISTRY OF EDUCATION

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#TurksandCaicos, January 27, 2023 – The Ministry responsible for Education confirms that a recent report of alleged sexual abuse was brought to the attention of authorities at a particular school. For the protection of the child, we will not divulge details of this matter. We do acknowledge that there were issues experienced which resulted in less than appropriate response to the incident.

 The Ministry is continuing its investigation of the incident, in its totality and has since requested a comprehensive report on the response from all involved. Several meetings, visits and discussions were held. The key is to ensure that the minor involved is afforded additional counselling and care and that other students within the institution are also afforded the relevant support needed. The Student Support Services has been active in coordinating this response which is currently in operation.

 As an immediate further action, the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) entities will convene and existing protocols will be reviewed and investigations conducted to determine the consistency of the response, exactly where the established protocols were not followed and the subsequent actions to be taken.

 The Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports and Social Services considers its responsibility for the Safeguarding of children of utmost importance. In so doing, the Ministry of Education has instituted a number of measures over the years to ensure that allegations of abuse to children in schools are treated with urgency. The creation of the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) was created to ensure that teachers, leaders, Social Workers, and Police can respond to allegations with the child’s safety and protection as the core consideration. Child safeguarding remains the Ministry’s primary concern.

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Crime

Murder Victim Identified

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#TurksandCaicos, January 27, 2023 – The Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force have identified Ervin Glinton of Sand Bar Street, Five Cays, as the male who was shot dead on January 24th .

Based on preliminary reports, at around 3pm, the Police Control Room  received a call from a resident stating that gunshots were being heard in Five Cays.

RTCIPF officers responded to the given location at Reece Street and found Glinton’s lifeless body lying face down on the ground, with what appeared to be gunshot wounds.

The public is being advised to notify the closest police station or to contact Crime Stoppers and give any information regarding this murder or  any illegal activity anonymously.

Please note, that Crime Stoppers calls are answered in Miami and in Houston by Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers which is a non-profit and not a police agency.

The calls are anonymous and cannot be traced in the United States or the TCI.

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